Sunday, June 12, 2011

An Engineer is an Engineer ? Wrong

When people hear the word Engineer they often think of a Civil Engineer who builds infrastructure or a Train Engineer who drives a train but there are many types of engineers which requires differing levels of education, license and certifications.

There are Professional Engineers which are mainly White Collar positions and require a 4 year college degree and additional training under a licensed engineer if you want to be able to put the letters PE behind your name which means you are a registered design professional with one or more states.
These types of Engineers are as follows Electrical, Mechanical , Fire Protection, Civil and other specialty areas such as RF, Electronics, Pressure etc.
You may not in many states call or advertise your self any of these types of engineers unless you have completed at the minimum a 4 year college degree and graduated. and can only call your self a Professional Engineer or PE Unless you have taken and passed numerous tests administered by a states licensing board.
In the case of my installing fire Alarms I am required to use the services of a design professional and have that drawing stamped by an engineer or architect. who is registered as a design professional here in Pa. If the system is required by code. If it is not a required system I am allowed to design them myself but if it veryhigh risk or large job I get a professional engineer involved regardless.

Now along with these very high level of education degrees there are also High skills designated engineers as well and some do require license or certification as well to perform there jobs / But they are of the Blue Collar trades. Including

Operating Engineer- Some one who operates Heavy equipment such as bull dossers ,high lifts etc. Typically this person is a member of a Operating Engineers Union

Stationary Engineer - Some one who operates large scale Boilers and Chillers in large buildings

Broadcast Engineer - Some one who maintains and repairs RF broadcast faciltys such as Radio and TV stations

Sound Engineer- Some one who operates large electronic mixing boards to produce recorded music usually in a studio

Train Engineer -some one who operates and drives the train

Sanitary Engineer - some one who operates waste water treatment plants.

and you will often hear the words Sales Engineer this is specially trained salesman who designs for customers customized applications of products. How ever some states restrict the use of the word engineer to strictly recognized trades or professionals and discourage the use of the word to be used otherwise. The more correct word to use would be designer not engineer. and this is very important because when you call your self an engineer you leave your self open to liability for any thing you design . In fact here in Pa. there have been several prosecutions of those who called themselves engineers and where improperly using a deceased engineers stamp or other wise using a stamp with out permission.
So if you are calling yourself an engineer and do not have the required training or certifications
you can be in for big headaches. and as you can see the field of engineering is very vast indeed.

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